It has been a while since I’ve had enough enthusiasm to try and write a blog. Most of the reasoning for this is the sheer fact that my world was turned UPSIDE DOWN in the first week of July, and I have spent the last 8 weeks or so merely dealing with the fallout.
Our Governor passed quite a few new laws since he took office in January. Most of them resulted in money being taken away from the school districts. Schools were left scrambling starting in April to try and figure out how to balance a shortfall of over $700 per pupil (in our district, that was almost 20% of the original budgeted amount) while still keeping busing, student services, food service, and not outsourcing. Our district went into survival mode. They cut 35 staff members (about 10% of the teaching staff) and merged elementary schools. They cut prep time by 1/3 in elementary buildings and took away some prep time at the secondary level. The specials/enrichment programs also took a major hit – hence my downward spiral.
Music teachers, by trade, are relatively transient. You’re not always lucky enough to end in the same district you started in. My district was an amazing place with wonderful co-workers, supportive administration and an enthusiastic community. They still are, they are just trying to stay afloat like every other district in the state. I was lucky enough to hold my position for 8 years in the same district, and I can honestly say that I can count on one hand the amount of days I woke up not wanting to go to work. And for 4 of those years, I began work at 6:12am. That’s impressive to be excited to wake up at 4:30am – 3:45am on days of heavy snow! I loved my job.
That being said, I was laid off. I was the person with the highest seniority laid off in the district. That hurts. It had to be someone. I have to appreciate the amount of time I had in the district. Our superintendent worked his hardest to be sure our students had the very best for as long as possible. It’s really hard to be upset about that! Today was the first day of school in my district, and I cannot tell you what it felt like to be working in a business office all day, with no students to be found.
I have been lucky enough to have a few really fun things come my way. I am working for a Human Resources company right now. VERY different from what I was doing before, but it is great experience and it’s a nice break from the stresses of teaching. I’ve been asked to co-author a music application for the iPad. That has really been my saving grace with not working. It keeps my mind in music education. I’ve also been looking into educational consulting. It encompasses all of the things I love to do. I’m positive about the possibilities that lie ahead, though I’m sad for what has been lost.
On the very bright side – I got married in August (hence the name change on Twitter!). If you follow me, I am now @theresastager. New name, new picture, same ‘ol me! I hope to hear from you on your endeavors and please bear with me as I possibly take a detour from the “norm” here. Join me, won’t you?